“Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh ……I didn’t know how to make this anonymous on nihaal.ca, so I just decided to email you. I’m emailing you for a simple request. I feel that kids in Sangat today do not have much support when it comes to sexual desire. This is an awkward topic that we haven’t really touched base on in kid’s class and it is really difficult for teens to talk to their parents about. Personally, I don’t have many problems when it comes to “Kaam”, but I know a lot of kids in our Sangat that do. Growing up, I find that a lot of my friends in Sangat have changed. I believe that it’s mostly the guys who have difficulties with this, but I was surprised to find out some of my friends that are girls have these problems too… even sexting is a problem…these are teenagers and even young adults, that little kids look up to. Many young adults wonder if it is okay to have premarital intercourse. Teenagers and young adults are curious and want to know the answers. Maybe we can have a secret question box or something. I know this is a really awkward conversation to talk about, but I feel that our Sangat teens need help.”
Let me start by applauding your courage and insight and also apologize for taking so long to answer. You are absolutely right – this is no easy topic and many adolescents face similar challenges. I just hope and pray that we can together come to a consensus to first define what we mean by “Kaam” and then try to find some options of dealing deal with it. In our culture, Kaam has been a taboo subject, as we feel embarrassed to even think about it ourselves let alone discuss it. However why should we be afraid of it? If we can discuss about the other five ‘thieves’ without any qualms then why not Kaam! We definitely need to talk about it too . It’s even listed first in the list Kaam(sexual desire). Krodh (anger) Lobh (greed), Moh (attachment) Hankaar (ego). Just as we try to deal with Anger or Ego, we can learn to deal with Lust. Many a time a rope in the dark looks like a snake, but as soon as the light is turned on it becomes obvious that it was nothing to be frightened about, it was only a rope!!! Once we perceive things as they really are, such as perceiving the rope to really be just a rope, our fear of it and suffering can cease.
ADOLESCENCE IS A TIME OF CHANGE
As we pass from childhood through the teen years and beyond, our bodies develop and change. So do emotions and feelings. During the teen years, the hormonal and physical changes of puberty lead to an awakening of sexual feelings. It’s common to wonder and sometimes worry about new sexual feelings. This however is perfectly natural and nothing to be overly concerned about. Remember Bauji’s gurbani vichar on the Power Of Thoughts -the more you obsess about some thoughts, the more powerful they get.
WHAT IS LUST?
Lust is an emotion or feeling of intense desire in the body. The lust can take any form (it does not have to be of a sexual nature only ) such as the lust for knowledge, the lust for power or hmmm the Lust for chocolate!! So, it can also take such mundane forms as the lust for food which however is distinct from the need for food. Lust is a powerful psychological force producing intense wanting for an object, or circumstance fulfilling the emotion. What is necessary to understand is that lust (sexual desire) is an altered state of consciousness programmed by the primal urge to procreate. It is of course the foundation for family life as well. The psychobiologic sexual buzz involves our emotions, our bodies and our cognitive functions and it occupies an essential role as an early phase of intimacy within the sexual union of marriage. Without it, we would not become aroused and sex probably would not happen enough to keep reproduction going or marital ties binding. Just like we discussed in the last Nihaal blog post on Anger, it is how we handle our natural instincts that is the important issue here and not why we have them. Just like feelings of anger can enslave a person, lust feelings too can make one completely bound by its powers. We must be able to separate what aspects of this desire are healthy and what aspects of this desire are damaging.
So how do you control lust?
If you are over weight or you are inclined to have anger tantrums what do you do? You exercise control. You learn to watch your feelings and thoughts and curb them. If you eat without any restraint everything you like, would you not become unhealthy and sick? If you say whatever you feel like whenever you like without first examining your own feelings and reasons, would you not be affecting your own soul? When you understand the detrimental effect of eating too much or being angry or greedy you try your very best to get out of the grip of these Masters (kaam, krodh, lobh…) who are trying to enslave you. Similarly, when one gets uncurbed sexual desires, measures have to taken to curb them. So let’s examine what might be the main causes for heightened kaam.
Causes of augmented sexual desires
Social and environmental factors—particularly the influence of peers—can be very persuasive indeed. Popular TV shows (Big Bang Theory, Friends, Mindy ) sensationalize sex. These shows cleverly mask the unpleasant realities of premarital sex—unwanted pregnancies, premature marriages, and sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s like syphillus and gonorrhea). The media makes it look like it is cool to have premarital sex and multiple partners. What it fails to reveal are the implications of these actions. The real issue behind all of these obsessive behaviours is usually low self esteem and lack of love and family support and most important of all lack of direction and often sexual abuse (forced sex). By becoming aware of these subliminal messages and knowing that they can lead us to conform we can start limiting the effect they can have on us. One very easy solution. Choose carefully what you are watching;it is being recorded within.
Technology While technology is a must in today’s lifestyle and we have to know the 21st Century skills to operate well in the world, it can also be a powerful slave Master! It practically controls our every waking moment and for some even sleeping moments. It keeps us hypnotized with it’s powers. The ease of communication with almost anyone we choose is afforded to us. We have far more Facebook friends than necessary. But at what cost? If we can set ourselves some boundaries then we become the master and not the tool. Once again, the choice is ours and it serves us well when we become aware of the pitfalls and avoid them. Do we really need so many so called Facebook friends?
A very wise person once said that having the love of just ONE sincere friend is enough in a lifetime!
Isn’t it worthwhile to find that one friend than making hundreds of acquaintances that ‘like’ you or your messages?
Body – It’s amazing how much time we spend on taking care of our body. This is good, right? Yes and No. Of course to have a healthy fit body is not only important but vital to our spiritual path. How can we sit in contemplative meditation without having a structure (a temple) in which to offer loving prayers to our Beloved? It is our duty to exercise, eat well and keep this temple clean. The body is an ally, it helps us focus. However when we pay too much attention to the wants of the body – lust for food or sex the body is no longer an instrument that helps us in our spiritual path. We aspire to reach a constant state of God Conciousness with all its Divine attributes of Love, Joy, Peace, Harmony, Health. Becoming overly conscious of the body, whether it is ours or someone else’s – the way it looks (fat, thin, beautiful, ugly,sexy…) is a deterrent. When technology joins hands with this body awareness phase (for example- sexting ) the two together feed one’s ego tremendously, making one erroneously believe that they are important to someone in some way. Perhpas it would be wise to stay away from friends who want to enaggae you in such practices and once again choose and be aware.
So what can we do?
Interestingly, while social pressures can influence us negatively, the right kind of friends can influence us too. Here is where sangat of enlightened souls (sadh sangat) helps enormously. However there is a condition.
Our only effort is to concentrate on the real purpose, which is to centre our consciousness on the Divine Presence while we are in the aura of Sangat and pray for guidance. Simran (meditation) helps of course but there is a catch. When our mind is distracted with thoughts of other people how can we even do Simran? Become aware of how you are being manipulated by all of the environmental and social pressure factors and take a stand against them.
Does all this mean that we should not have any feelings for someone?
Not at all. Love is a Gift from God. Falling in love is a special privilege afforded to a chosen few. Falling in love teaches you or gives you the anubhav (personal experience) of how to Love God especially when you are separated from your loved one. Pangs of seperation and feelings of intense longing to see the Beloved are thus
experienced (Baraag). If you have chosen the spiritual path and you are serious about meeting your Divine Lover, your Beloved, then wait for Love – your true soul mate. This lover will not take you away from God but only towards Him. Together, but yet not bound to each other you will grow spiritually and walk towards the “Mother”, maybe falling at times but encouraging each other, mirroring your self in the other. Let the fulfillment of the natural instinct of sexual desire wait until that time when you know you have found the “One”. Without that, the sexual act will probably be just that – an empty act. When the false intoxication alcohol produces subsides, after a short euphoria, a person is left drained and spiritually bankrupt. In a similar manner, one is left spiritually drained by sensual encounters that really have no deeper meaning other than the sexual attraction of the body.
The choice is yours! The freedom is yours! Choose wisely.
Keep coming to Sangat, reading Gurbani Vichaars but while you are in Sangat try your hardest to focus on the main purpose you are there for. Remember your thoughts are very powerful. Read the post again on Thinking about Thinking, avoid situations ( like we do when we go on a diet) that will enhance your bodily feelings (dress simply and modestly) etc. Above all do not be afraid of this slave master Kaam. With His Grace it is only a sanke in the dark!!
You take control.
Be happy – help is as close as closing your eyes and asking your Guru for guidance.
Gurbani guides us in the following manner:
Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan